Our Blog

Enter a comma separated list of user names.
Students must become thoughtful activists of Internet content
53
9
3 November 2016
Andrew Campbell

One of the core tenets, perhaps the central belief of formal education, is that there is truth. Truth that can be learned, transferred and used to make decisions and solve problems. When William Butler Yeats wrote "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire" it is this idea of education, as the transmission of truth that he is commenting on.

Educators see this daily in their work with students that come to school wanting answers. And despite the increasing use of constructivist teaching methods such as Inquiry Learning, education is still essentially the pursuit of truth. We encourage students to find their own understanding, but implicit in that is the belief that there are answers to be found, answers that matter and that endure.

However, there’s considerable evidence that the importance of truth is declining...

Blogger
These school design considerations mean that optimal learning spaces are no longer a distant dream.
20
9
19 October 2016
Ben Gilpin

One thing that is often overlooked in education is the learning space.  We need to look at our schools and ask, "Is this classroom flexible, open, wireless, comfortable, and inspiring?" – Steven Weber

One of my all-time favourite movies as a teen was Back to the Future II (truth is, I loved the entire trilogy). I especially enjoyed the second installment due in large part to their excursion to the future. My mind was spinning with possibilities. Whether it was Marty’s shoes or the new age diner all I could imagine was how cool the Future was going to be!

Some time ago I was sitting down and watching a Disney show with my son. The show is called Jessie. It caught my attention because the opening scene took place in a school. Immediately I was fixated on the teacher’s behaviour and the classroom design. One thing that really stood out was that the school on TV still had chalkboards. My brain began spinning; do...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
The journey between the head and the heart
36
8
14 October 2016
Rosa Fazio

Over time I’m discovering how much our own experience in life and in school affects how we handle situations and how we teach. We bring a very strong belief about schooling to our classrooms every day and in every way.

What was your experience in school?
What is your story?
What do you believe is a good education?
What is your idea of an educated person?
How should schooling look like?

One of the first questions I asked Randall Fielding of Fielding Nair...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
16
5
13 October 2016
Ellen Rose

The physical design of a school communicates messages about the purpose and nature of education. In the past, schools were designed to support the delivery of rote, standardized instruction. Today, however, the goal is for students to become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and meaning makers. Effective school designs reflect this change in educational philosophies and goals. For example, they include flexible, learner-centred spaces that encourage active, cooperative, and community-based approaches to teaching and learning.

Research on school design increasingly shows that students’ learning environments can have both positive and negative effects on their social behaviours, engagement, well-being, and academic achievement. The following specific school design elements are correlated with positive student behaviours and attitudes, as well as enhanced achievement:

Positive social behaviours
  • small school size
  • wide, clearly defined...
Blogger, EdCan Blogger
15
4
12 October 2016
Holly Bennett

What does a school look like? For most of us, the image that first comes to mind is very much like the school our parents went to. The blackboard may have been replaced by a Smartboard; there may be new elements like computer tablets in the classrooms, but the basic structure is the same. Chances are that you, like me, most easily envision a blocky building with strings of square single classrooms, an office, a gym, a library, a playground.

Is this what a school has to be? Not anymore. Architects have understood for decades that form dictates function. While creative educators do find ways to work around the limitations of a traditional building, it’s also true that new approaches to teaching and learning can be either fostered or hindered by the building where they take place. As Zoe Branigan-Pipe points out in her Viewpoint...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
The CEA Puts Its Ear to the Ground
18
4
16 September 2016
Stephen Hurley

It may come as a surprise to many of you, but the Canadian Education Association celebrates its 125th Anniversary this year. Established in 1891 as an organization dedicated to connecting educators, policy thinkers and those interested in the growth and flourishing of public education systems across the country, the CEA has been a trusted convenor, connector and provocateur on the Canadian education landscape. 

If you were to look for those catalytic moments in the story of the CEA—those plot points when new energy and focus was realized—your attention would eventually be drawn to those times when the organization's leaders sought to "put their ear to the ground" in an effort to get a sense of what issues, challenges and opportunities that were keeping them awake at night. This process of listening has always enabled the CEA to...

Blogger
Exploring the Space For Parent Engagement
21
7
8 September 2016
Stephen Hurley

When I walked onto the tarmac at our local public school yesterday morning I was immediately drawn into that beautiful sense of chaos that is The-First-Day-of-School. Close to 1100 children and the parents, grandparents and caregivers responsible for getting them there. Nearly 100 staff members making sure that everyone knew where they were going. Comings and goings, hellos and goodbyes, delights in the recognition of long-lost friends (lost for two months) and the quiet assurances offered by adults to those experiencing a little bit of first day jitters. All of this held close in the stifling early morning air.

But then something wonderful and mysterious happened. The morning bell rang and this beautiful mess was very quickly transformed into a sense of order as our children once again became students. The transition from summer vacation to another school year was happening before our eyes. And happen it...

Blogger
The request for recognition
21
4
26 August 2016
Stephen Hurley

The teacher didn't read my name on the first day of Kindergarten. Well, not right away. 

We were all seated on the floor in front of Mrs. McCreath who was trying to maintain a sense of calm while she worked her way through the class roster that she had been provided. For most of us, this would have been the first time in our rather short lives that we had heard our full names spoken by an adult other than our parents. (It was only when I was in trouble at home that my mother took the time to attach a surname to her "becks" or "calls")

We all listened intently, waiting to respond, "HERE", when our names were called. At that point, we didn't really having much familiarity with alphabetical lists. Heck, we were still learning the alphabet! I recall taking a small breath of anticipation each time Mrs. C. moved from one name to the next until that fateful moment when she looked up from her page and asked, "Have I forgotten anyone?"...

Blogger
31
5
8 August 2016
Paul W. Bennett

File 7044

The unexpected summer surge of Pokémon Go has educators and parents buzzing about its educational potential.  Games come and go with popular crazes, but this one may be different because it’s the first real sign of Augmented Reality (AR) reaching the masses.

Pokémon Go has re-activated the so-called “ed-tech hype cycle.” One day after the game was released, on July 7, 2016, IDEAFM ...

Blogger, EdCan Blogger
28
1
21 July 2016
Stephen Hurley

A great deal of how we perceive the world and the perspectives that we take on what we perceive can be atttributed to the cognitive frames that we develop throughout our lives. Frames help us make sense of a very complex world and, in a very real sense, allow us to move through our days without going absolutely bonkers! 

As Sanda Kaufman, Michael Elliott and Deborah Shmueli point out frames can help to explain why we two people can see the world in such different ways:

"Because frames are built upon underlying structures of beliefs, values, and experiences, (people) often construct frames that differ in significant ways."

The different roles that we have in life can have a strong influence on the frames that we develop. To his hockey coach, Graham might appear to be a disciplined and highly skilled team leader. But to his grade eight teacher, the same...

Blogger